Struggle with 1st person dialogue

by Lucy

Question: I am trying to write a story with a two person protagonist using a present tense 1st person narrative. I am struggling to write my story in 1st person narrative without always using the word "I." I am trying to work on my 1st person dialogue which is mostly between to teenage girls.

Answer: By "a two person protagonist" I assume you mean two main characters?

As for your questions...

If you are writing in first person, you are going to use the word "I" a lot. Or more precisely, your main character is going to refer to herself as "I" (unless she is one of those strange people who uses her first name in place of the word "I" which can get annoying, to be honest, but might work if she is supposed to be an odd person). At any rate, don't worry about using "I" too much as long as you are using it in a natural way that reflects how that character would tell her story.

In dialogue, it is also perfectly natural for each character to refer to herself as "I." When necessary, your narrator should make it clear to the reader who is speaking.

You do need to be careful about who your narrator is. Regardless of direct speech (which appears within quotation marks), only one character should narrate a scene. Don't switch narrators in the middle of a scene.

If you want to switch between two narrators, make sure there is a distinct break in the text (e.g. a chapter break) so the reader knows a shift in the narration has happened.

Best of luck.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero